Interview with Debbie Cox, Recruitment & Development Manager, IKEA

Name:                                     Debbie Cox Role within IKEA:              Recruitment & Competence Development Manager Biography: IKEA FOOD manager Gateshead store & Wembley store; Assistant Store Manager Oslo, Norway; IKEA FOOD Country Manager Norway & Denmark; IKEA FOOD UK Competence Developer; numerous secondments and projects. Debbie, you joined IKEA from being a foodcourt manager in 1994, how did you find the transition? It was over 20 years ago now, but I remember it not being so easy. I"d come from a typically British hierarchical retail catering background where direction was created for me. Suddenly, I had to create my own direction. Once I got used to this, it was incredibly exciting, but I had to learn a thing or two about myself along the way. One thing I will say though...the people around me in IKEA were – and are – never less than welcoming, helpful and friendly. This is why I knew joining IKEA was the right thing for me. How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role? I"d not done HR before joining IKEA, and I guess that speaks for itself! The opportunities to take your career in different, and unexpected, directions are very much alive in IKEA. In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role? Influencing skills are key – the ability to get buy-in from colleagues is essential for success in IKEA as all leaders have a certain level of autonomy. Perseverence; things can take time in IKEA and you need to be able to stick with it. A strong identification with the IKEA culture & values – you have that, you’ll be able to achieve anything. IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA? A fresh outlook. Open to ideas and contributing ideas – no matter how off the wall they may seem. A willingness to put themselves in new situations. Passion. What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA? Be yourself. What is the biggest challenge in your role at present? Recruitment. I’ve only just taken this on as part of my role and not having a HR background, I know nothing about it. It’s probably only in IKEA where this is seen as a good thing! I guess I bring fresh eyes, a new perspective , and can challenge received wisdoms. We’re about to go in to expansion mode so there’s a lot of recruiting to do and it needs to be done differently than we’ve done it in the past. What will your next role be within IKEA? No idea! That’s the beauty of it. It could be anything. I’ve never had a career plan, but just walked through the doors as they opened! And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA? The fast pace, the freedom to set your own agenda, the space to be who you are. To read more about opportunities to join the HR team at IKEA, click here
 

Interview with Dominique Sayce, HR Manager, IKEA

Name:                                     Dominique Sayce Role within IKEA:              HR Manager Biography: Area Manager for Aldi Stores Ltd: A regional role achieved through the fast track Graduate Programme, which covered between 4-6 stores around the Bristol area. Responsible for an average of 125 employees, and weekly turnover of £750k+. A wide ranging role which entailed area recruitment, financial planning and forecasting, area wide recruitment, inventory auditing, coaching and development, cost control, competitor analysis , full HR responsibility and project work which included National Apprenticeship Roll Out for the South West, new store opening in Fishponds and restructuring of training programme for Store and Area Managers. Finance Consultant for Michael Page Ltd: Specialising in the qualified and executive finance arena, I covered the Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucester region specialising in qualified accountants  through to Director level recruitment. Dominique, you joined IKEA in December 2014, how have you found the transition? The transition into IKEA is an ongoing journey – one in which I have only recently started. It truly is a different world, but one in which you get a lot of helping hands along the way, pulling you through and guiding your every step. Never before have I worked in an environment where it is in everyone’s interest to watch you succeed and you are actually encouraged to take your time, learn the ropes and get to know everyone before you actually step into your official role. As corny as it sounds, I feel like I can be myself and let down my barriers to really get to know my colleagues and co-workers. How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role? I would say it is more so the environment that differs, as opposed to the expectations of the role. The responsibility of HR throughout the commercial realm is to lead and develop staff, to spot and nurture talent, to provide robust systems and processes to ensure fair and diverse recruitment and to overall, provide a safe and enjoyable working environment for all employees. However, IKEA actually provide the environment where the needs and happiness of the employees is a number one priority. It’s not governed by targets and KPIs, it is more focused on leading by example and creating the type of environment where employees naturally enjoy coming to work, are motivated and proud to represent IKEA and want to work together to really drive the business forward. From an HR Manager perspective, I feel as if I have the scope to spread my wings, really get close to employees to understand truly their needs and perspectives and then build upon those findings and relationships to create processes and systems which suit our store. The UK IKEA “HR Guidelines” are there as a support function; they set the structure for how to conduct business, but we have real autonomy on a local level to adapt our processes and focus to cater for our co-workers. In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role? It is a wide role and often quite hard to pin down each and every aspect of the HR Manager role, but I would summarise the key qualities to be: approachableness, honesty, humbleness and passion. It is commendable to try new things, to dare to be different and to strive for improvements throughout the store. It is ok to make mistakes, to learn from them and not be scared to go to plan B, C or even D! Passion shines through. In order to drive changes and success, it is crucial to have your team and co-workers behind you. By leading through people and by example, passion is infectious and creates the “feel good” factor. IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA? Apologies for the “thesaurus” approach to this question, but I truly believe that each co-worker (regardless of job role or seniority) displays the following characteristics: openness, honesty, passion, motivation, dedication, humbleness, desire to improve and find new ways of working, keen to share best practice, ability to build relationships and more that anything, have two ears and one mouth! What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA? Be yourself. IKEA truly is an anomaly in that your values, personality, attitude and passion are the key drivers to success. If you are someone who is a people person, who believes that relationships are the key to success, is ambitious and eager to find better ways of working, and ultimately wants to work for a firm where you are employed for who you are – come to IKEA. What is the biggest challenge in your role at present? Given I am new to the role, my biggest challenge is learning the IKEA Way. Coming from quite a hard commercial background, it is a very different way of looking at business. I am being encouraged to walk and then crawl, having been used to being expected to run from day 1. Also, relaxing into an environment where the focus is on building relationships and getting to know the entire business. What will your next role be within IKEA? Quite hard to say as I have currently only been in my role for 2.5 months. Nonetheless, the freedom internally to move disciplines means that I can get quite excited about the freedom to consider options such as Logistics Manager or Business Navigation. That said, there are always numerous opportunities which will be arriving due to the extension and upcoming project plans for the UK. And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA? The best thing about working for IKEA is the autonomy to shape your role, to experiment and bring new ideas to the table and the freedom (and expectation) to truly spend the time getting to know co-workers and building relationships. Not many companies offer this opportunity. In so many firms nowadays, the expectation is to be up and running as soon as possible, delivering targets and meeting KPIs. Never have I ever worked for a firm such as IKEA, who genuinely place so much pride and emphasis on the strength and relationships of their employees.    To read more about the opportunity to join the IKEA HR team, click here
 

Interview with Darren Taylor, Deputy Country HR Manager UK&IE, IKEA

Name:                                     Darren Taylor Role within IKEA:              Deputy Country HR Manager UK& IE Biography: University Graduate -1996 Experience in a main stream DIY and food retailers - 1993 - 1997 Darren, you joined IKEA from Do It All DIY in 1997, how have you found the transition? I joined IKEA in 1997 from, at the time, a main stream DIY chain where I was a warehouse supervisor. The transition for me was very natural; the fast paced retail environment that IKEA offered suited my strong work ethic and offered me career opportunities as well as an environment to grow as a manager and a leader. How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role? Over the last 17 years in IKEA I have had a number of roles, starting as a trainee department sales manager in the cook shop area and then spending the next 13 years working with the IKEA commercial functions in various roles in four IKEA stores. In 2011, I decided to try a different direction and diversified by taking a position as a Store HR Manager in Nottingham. I then joined the Country HR team as the Deputy Country HR Manager in 2014. As a Store HR Manager there were a lot of similarities and transferable skills which I used before and still rely on daily. A passion for working with the customer and leading a team of co-people is a common theme through my career; I use these skills today as much as I did in all of my previous roles. The HR manager role in IKEA gives you freedom to develop a short, mid and long term approach to working with a “People plan” in your local market. The key is to engage the 300+ co-workers and management team in your store, while at the same time you have the opportunity to develop and lead the business from the front, making key decisions within the store to secure the IKEA brand. In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role? The key skills for this role are, having a passion for people; this includes both the customer and co-workers alike. IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA? The candidates who stand out are the ones who are comfortable with who they are, being self aware of their skills, how they lead, what they want to personally develop, how they can contribute to IKEA’s growth as a brand. What is also important is having a passion for home furnishings and how to connect this to customers’ and co-workers’ lives, needs and aspirations. What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA? Be yourself, be open, passionate and inspire; it’s not necessarily about what you have done in the past but more what you can do in the future. Enjoy the interview and share your views. What is the biggest challenge in your role at present? IKEA is growing so fast in the UK&IE ; with our customer and co-workers’ needs constantly changing and evolving, my biggest challenge today is to make sure we are living up to our vision, HR idea and core values in all of these diverse and exciting markets . What will your next role be within IKEA? My career has been very varied and has changed direction many times, however I always feel comfortable with the fact that you can have many different careers in IKEA without moving company. My ambition is to be a Country HR Manager over the next 3-5 years, in a European country; lets see where the next few years takes me.... And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA? The best thing for me is the freedom to grow both personally and with the business. Every day there is a new challenge, but each one is exciting and stretches me to become a better person, leader and retailer. To read more about opportunities to join the IKEA HR team, click here  
 

Interview with Aoife McCarthy, HR Manager, Dublin, IKEA

Name:                               Aoife McCarthy Role within IKEA:       HR Manager, Dublin Biography: I have 13 years experience in HR, 11 years as an HR Manager across a number of different sectors – telecommunications, sales and retail. I have worked with Xerox, Google, Manpower and CPM Ireland. Aoife, you joined IKEA from CPM Ireland in September 2014, how have you found the transition? I will be honest, it has been intense. Changing jobs can be challenging as you absorb yourself in the new culture and the learning curve is significant, no matter how much experience you have. It’s like starting school again! I was also returning to work from maternity leave for the first time so adapting to life as a working mum was equally challenging. But since joining IKEA, I have not looked back. It has been an incredible experience so far. The first thing I noticed about IKEA was how welcoming everybody was - the co-workers had such a wonderful spirit within them, it immediately felt like home and I knew I was part of something very special. Within a few weeks, I felt like I had always been there. Understanding the culture is one of the most important things before making the transition to a new job. As a new mum, IKEA have been so supportive as I adapt to striking the balance between home and work. I really don’t believe I would have gotten the same level of support in another company. How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role? People are at the forefront of IKEA’s business strategy which isn’t always the case for some companies. Everything we do at IKEA aims to support our co-workers. The biggest difference for me as an HR Manager in IKEA is supporting the store as Duty Manager at weekends. This is a fantastic way of keeping close to challenges in store and utilising this information in driving the people agenda forward. It also keeps me close to the co-workers and ensures I am continuously building relationships. I also work in partnership with our Business Navigator which is different to previous roles. Our relationship is critical in steering the business in the right way and we support each other in decision making. Also, I never had to wear a uniform until joining IKEA – I love not having to think about what I’m wearing, it’s at least an extra 25 minutes of sleep each week when you know what you’re wearing the next day!! In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role? As an HR Manager, you need to be people focused, commercially astute, decisive and highly energetic. You need a high level of empathy while being able to adapt to an ever changing daily agenda. You also need to be a very strong leader. IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA? I really believe that if you are committed to putting the customer first, have a high level of integrity and the desire to learn while learning from mistakes, you will be very successful in IKEA. What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA? Be yourself. It is as much about IKEA being right for you as it is you being right for IKEA. If it’s really right for you, you might actually enjoy yourself at interview, I know I did! What is the biggest challenge in your role at present? My biggest challenge currently is prioritising. There are so many exciting projects on the HR agenda, I am eager to get me teeth stuck into all of them however I also need to manage the day to day operational issues in store. What will your next role be within IKEA?      I always thought that I would stay within HR for the rest of my career but IKEA has taught me that if you are a strong leader and you have the ability to learn quickly, you can do anything and IKEA will support and develop you. I would love to be an Assistant Store Manager some day! And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA? The people. They are IKEA’s best assets and I am so proud to be a part of them.   To read more about the opportunities to join the IKEA HR team, click here
 

How to write an interview script – with FREE Retail Area Manager Interview Template

We are often asked by clients for sample interview questions for certain roles. This tends to be by smaller companies who perhaps have a small HR function and who have never had reason to write a formal interview process or script. With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to outline how to draw up a standard interview script. It may sound simple but there is more to it than googling ‘top ten interview questions!’ – at least if you want the interview to effectively assess potential candidates! NB. I have kept this intentionally simple. If we were designing this for a client from scratch we would need to go into more detail, designing a competency matrix as the foundation before writing both the job description and subsequent interviews. Why have a standard interview? There is a balance here between making the process too standardised and having an informal process which purely relies on personal opinion rather than hard evidence. If the process is too formulaic, you may miss out on some of the candidate’s less tangible qualities. If you have no process at all, chaos tends to ensue with each hiring manager looking for something different, no audit trail and worst case scenario, questions being asked which are discriminatory or even illegal! Also, a big problem companies face when recruiting is that the people doing the interviewing may have had no interview training and be nervous themselves when called upon to interview. Having a (good) interview script can help give inexperienced interviewers confidence. What are the competencies/capabilities you are looking for? This should be the starting point for any recruitment process. Of course there is more to it than that (culture fit, personality etc.) however at the very least, you need to know that the candidate has the capability to do the job before you factor in their potential ‘fit’ with the company. If you don’t have one already, it is worth drawing up a list of competencies for the role you are recruiting for. These should be a clear guide to the specific skillset required, ideally with key measures for each competency attached. Keep the list brief – any more than 6 competencies and it will be very hard to assess these effectively. Think about what the absolute pre-requisites are and ask yourself “what will the person be doing to demonstrate success in this role” and “how will we measure their success?”. The format should look something like this: Once you have your competency matrix agreed with the key stakeholders, you can use it as the basis for the job description and the interview process. What structure do you want your script to have? For a straightforward interview, e.g. for the first stage of a process before an assessment centre or where there will be a 2 stage process with a structured interview first followed by an OJE or sign off interview at final stage, then I would suggest the following: a combination of a competency based interview and a more fluid set of questions to assess culture and team fit. That way, you will be assessing in a rounded way while still providing a robust audit trail and a consistent set of questions for every candidate. How many questions? This is a tricky one. Ideally, an interview like this should last between 1 and 1.5hrs – anything less and I would question its validity. However, different interviewers will have different styles – some more verbose than others and some more skilled at keeping an interview moving if the candidate’s responses are too long-winded. I would use the competences as a guide and aim to ask 2 questions per competency. This will keep the interview balanced and then you can allow additional time for the more open, culture based questions. What format should it take? Again, simplicity is key here. Having worked in-house and knowing how difficult it was to get any interview feedback from hiring managers at all let alone anything in writing, it needs to be a document which is easy to use. There should be enough space for notes and there should be specific enough questions to guide the interviewer about how much detail they need to give in terms of feedback. To score or not to score It is possible to assign a mark for each question, enabling you to give a total score for the interview. This can be done by apportioning a score per competency e.g. if you have 5 competencies for an Area Manager role, you could assign 4 points per competency, giving you a total of 20 possible marks. The scoring for each competency is based on a scale for instance: 4     Excels in demonstration of capability 3     Demonstrates capability 2     Demonstrates some areas of capability however has some development areas 1       Does not adequately demonstrate capability   If the assessor feels the candidate has excelled in their demonstration of the competency, they would get the full 4 points and so on. This tends to work particularly well when used as part of an overall assessment process. We have created a free Area Manager interview script template, download here:
 

Social Recruitment in Retail – infographic & report

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Settlement (Compromise) Agreements – what you need to know

Guest Author, Kevin Poulter is a Senior Associate in the employment department of London firm Bircham Dyson Bell LLP  

A Settlement Agreement (formerly known as a Compromise Agreement) is a contract between an employer and an employee terminating the employment relationship. They provide an employer with certainty that a claim will not be brought against it by the employee through the Tribunals and Courts. For employees, a Settlement Agreement will typically provide something more by way of compensation than the employee might otherwise be entitled to, such as a financial payment or some other non-financial incentive such as a detailed reference.

Settlement Agreements are increasingly common. Just because an employer offers a Settlement Agreement does not necessarily mean they have done anything wrong. Agreements like this are used for certainty and completeness and should not be viewed defensively. Of course, there are exceptions and agreements can be entered into or offered when the employment has broken down beyond repair or used as a solution to effect a mutually agreeable termination (such as if someone is retiring or moving to another organisation).

Settlement Agreements - and any payment under them - are almost always made without any admission by the employer as to liability or blame.

Like all contracts, Settlement Agreements can vary in length and scope, according to the seniority of the employee, the type of organisation and any risks associated with termination.  They can be anything from one side of paper to 50 pages or more.  However, there are key terms which are typical to all such agreements.

Key settlement terms

You will always expect to find details of the employee and the employer; the termination date; notice and/or notice pay; legal advice and fees; the waiver of claims; reference details and; any announcement to other employees and/or customers, clients and suppliers.

Compensation amount: This will inevitably vary between every situation. The compensation or settlement payment will often include an ex gratia amount - something which isn’t required by law or by contract to be paid to the employee.  This is in effect what the employer is paying to reduce their risk of a claim.

Tax indemnity: A part or the whole of a compensation or settlement payment may be paid tax free.  If there is an element of redundancy pay or an ex gratia payment included within the compensation amount and it is paid as ‘compensation for loss of employment’, up to £30,000 may be paid tax free.  Where a payment is made, the employer will typically include an indemnity clause, meaning that if HMRC pursue the employer for any tax which it believes it should have paid, that liability will be passed on to the employee.  If the payment is a genuine compensation payment (and not, for example, a contractual entitlement to a bonus or notice pay) there should not be any risk, however the clause is a precautionary measure.  You can also discuss with your advisor the various ways of structuring a payment so as to minimise your exposure to tax.

Restrictive covenants: You may already have some restrictions in your contract of employment which will continue beyond the termination of your employment.  These will often include restrictions on where you can work for a period after termination, what type of company you may work for and/or any geographical location which is prohibited.  You will often be reminded of those restrictions or your employer may include new restrictions in the agreement as part of the ‘deal’.  You should review these carefully, particularly if leaving to commence employment with a competitor organisation.

Legal advice:  You must seek legal advice as to the terms of the Agreement.  This will usually be in a short meeting with a solicitor or other legal advisor of your choice.  There are some criteria that the advisor must meet to be suitable for these purposes.  Although there is no obligation on your employer to provide any contribution towards your legal fees, it is usual to include a nominal contribution of at least £300 plus VAT.  If the Agreement is more complex, this might be increased.  Your advisor will also be required to confirm in writing that they have provided you with the necessary advice.

Confidentiality: The terms of the Agreement and the circumstances relating to it will almost always be subject to a confidentiality clause, with very few exceptions.  This is likely to be taken very seriously by your employer who will want to protect this information, specifically in relation to payment terms.

The terms of any Settlement Agreement are negotiable, however, the extent of how flexible the employer may be will depend on the particular circumstances leading to it.  Your legal advisor will be able to assist you when considering this.

Dealing with the termination of your employment, whatever the reason, can be difficult and emotional. Professional advice is essential when you might not be thinking clearly. Settlement Agreements may seem very insincere, but they can prove to be a valuable method of dealing with the necessary formalities at the end of the employment relationship. It also seems likely that they are here to stay.  

Kevin Poulter is a Senior Associate in the employment department of London firm Bircham Dyson Bell LLP.  If you have received or may be offered a Settlement Agreement or require any assistance with negotiating or preparing an Agreement, you may contact him at [email protected] or by telephone on 020 7227 7000. You can follow him on Twitter @kevinpoulter or visit his website www.kevinpoulter.com  

 
 

The Top 10 Golden Retail behaviours…that everyone else wants to tap in to.

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development. I recently wrote about the Top 10 transferable Retail skills (Click here). When I wrote that blog I found myself having to separate behaviours from skills and competencies. There is a strong appetite across many industries for Retailers not just for the skill-sets that they acquire but also for the behaviours that they exhibit. These behaviours, often under rated and generally taken for granted, are not unique to Retail but when combined with a typical Retailer’s skill-set they are very…very powerful.
  • Urgency & Pace
I suspect that this is the most under-rated behaviour of all. Retail has always been a fast paced industry, driven by consumer demand, trends & perishable product. Quite simply if you do not ‘get it right’ first time you will lose a sale to the competition. You snooze – you lose. With the onset of Social Media and Internet shopping the urgency of delivery has become even more important. Most retail jobs are highly task focussed and great retailers are able to prioritise, Urgent vs. Important, and deliver a result with pace. Having recruited for a number of organisations in other industries Line Managers often talk about the need for an injection of urgency and love the pace that retailers operate at.
  • Customer & Service Orientation
We have all had poor experiences in a shop before but on the whole the service offered, in my opinion, is far higher than in other industries. The reason why I believe this is of particular importance is that the provision of service is generally one of many tasks that frontline and back office support retailers have to provide. Remaining focussed on the customer when you have a refit taking place, maintenance issues, conference calls from head office, an audit, stock deliveries and a multitude of other tasks in your in-tray is both an art and a science. This isn’t just applicable at store level either, the demands being placed upon Directors and CEOs has reached stratospheric levels with an increasing uptake of Social Media. I have spoken to numerous Directors recently who are increasingly dealing directly with customer issues, in real time over Twitter...24/7. Now that is…
  • Commitment
I am not sure there are many 9-5 jobs left these days but in Retail that simply doesn’t exist. There are 0hr contracts, ever evolving shift patterns and an unceasing workload. The level of commitment will vary from shop to shop and business to business but I can only comment on my own experience from HMV. I can remember many late nights preparing stores for opening, refits, layout changes and I always found my respective teams (on relatively modest salaries) to be utterly committed. In Retail you just cannot achieve your core goals without dedication and commitment. It’s a hackneyed phrase but tasks are often split between JDIs (just do it – or JFDI as it was in HMV’s culture!) and nice to haves. Retailers accept this and just get on with it.
  • Compliance & Standards
Retail is Detail. I used to hate that phrase but the truth is it is spot on. Retail is about routines and processes. If you are unable to drive continuously high standards your business will fall apart very quickly. Retailers will have this ingrained in to their behaviours from the first day they start their job. Often the tasks are repetitive and boring but they do underpin the fun stuff. Delivering this compliance while balancing customer needs is not simple. I still find myself inadvertently tidying CD sections in my local HMV store and tutting at dirty or cluttered windows. Retailers will take this behaviour with them in to every role they undertake.
  • Competitive
Clearly this is a behaviour that needs to be moderated in the right way, however, there are few industries that are quite as competitive. Just look at the number of high profile administrations in recent months, let alone years. Retailers are used to competing and thrive on the challenge. Every single minute of every single day they are competing not just externally but often internally. Retailers are battered with KPIs and scorecards and there is nothing worse than being bottom of the table...actually scratch that, second isn’t much better! This competitiveness is often a result high levels of…
  • Drive & Passion
The beauty of the Retail Industry is that anyone can enter and anyone can do well. Of course degrees and other technical qualifications will help but if you have high levels of drive and you are passionate about what you do, you WILL be successful.
  • Resilience
I am not sure I need to explain this one given the rollercoaster most retailers have been on over the last few years. To be fair even in the good times it isn’t easy. There is rarely any respite, no rest period and little time for reflection. Retailers get two days off a year. When your average person is enjoying their May Day Bank holiday, Store managers and their teams are working harder then ever. It isn’t any easier further up the ladder either. Preparing for a 7am Monday morning board meeting, trying to shore up some shocking like for likes, late in to a Sunday night certainly requires some resilience – and not just for the individual but for their families too.
  • Results Orientation
I mentioned KPIs earlier. These days pretty much everything that a retailer does is measured in some way. The larger chains have engaged in some very detailed time and motion studies to increase productivity and that only serves to ratchet up the focus on results. Retailers live and die by their numbers. Even customer service scores and employee surveys are often boiled down to a single number. Are you above average? Did you top the region, the company or the industry? As with previous points, where Retailers really impress is their ability to combine an orientation towards ‘getting a result’ with doing it the ‘right way’ – through their people and with customer at the heart of their decision.
  • Receptive to and engaged with change
I think it is fair to say that this doesn’t apply to all Retailers and that the industry has had change thrust upon it to some extent with the advent of the internet and other external pressures. Having said that the industry has adapted and behaviourally Retailers have become accustomed to a state of flux within their respective markets. The most successful individuals and businesses are the ones that embrace change and where it is second nature.
  • Ownership & Accountability
With highly visible KPIs, strong processes and structure comes accountability. With accountability comes ownership! This swings both ways, when you are doing well you will receive the plaudits…when things are not going so well you will be held accountable. Retailers understand this relationship between success and failure and they own their results. You only have to listen to a politician on the radio to realise what a fantastic attribute this is!!!

As I mentioned earlier these behaviours are not unique to Retail but the combination is rare and it certainly explains why leaders from other industries are so keen to tap in to this Human Resource.

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